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Papua New Guinea, Pierced Dog Canine Teeth

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Papua New Guinea, Pierced Dog Canine Teeth (obverse) Papua New Guinea, Pierced Dog Canine Teeth (reverse)

To draw an analogy to our system of values, boar tusks are in Papua New Guinea the gold coins, and dogs' teeth are the silver coins. 200 dogs' teeth equaled one boar tusk. However, while boar tusks are still used as valuable objects of exchange today, dog teeth lost their status as currency in the 1960s.

Until then, dog teeth could be used to pay the bride-price in some regions of Papua New Guinea. In 1876, in fact, we have records of two bride prices settled in dogs' teeth one for a hundred and one for two hundred teeth. The difference could stem from the fact that the price could be paid with various objects, not only dog teeth. Perhaps one payment had more pigs or boar tusks than the other.

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